Small Wars Journal

Turkey’s Syria Border Becomes Ground Zero for Geopolitical Crisis

Tue, 03/03/2020 - 12:40am

Turkey’s Syria Border Becomes Ground Zero for Geopolitical Crisis by Jared Malsin - Wall Street Journal

Barred from entering neighboring Turkey, and fleeing a Syrian-government offensive, hundreds of thousands of people are crammed into camps, sharing few latrines and burning scrap and spare clothes to keep warm, sending up noxious fumes.

The largest exodus in Syria’s nine-year conflict has overwhelmed the ability of aid workers to respond—and has become the focal point of a geopolitical crisis that threatens to spiral out of control.

Some Syrians amassed at the border have threatened to break through, with activists using the slogan “From Idlib to Berlin” to rally support for a march on the wall.

Pressure is mounting on Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to respond as the humanitarian crisis worsens. Turkey’s own military is taking losses in Syria, including at least 34 troops who died last week in shelling that Ankara blamed on President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

On Sunday, Turkey shot down two Syrian jet fighters, signaling that it would challenge Russia’s dominance over Syrian airspace. Turkey’s defense minister said the military operations in Idlib were aimed at preventing what he called “massacres” of Syrian civilians and roll back the Assad regime’s advances…

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